Capital Bikeshare critic: a lonely pursuit
- A Rosslyn CaBi station (Photo: Jen Dreyer)
The saying "Everyone's a critic" predates the September 2010 launch of the Capital Bikeshare program. The traffic-reducing, obesity-shaving big red bikes have gotten a smooth ride in local media outlets and other places---blogs and Listservs---where nastiness presides.
"Most people see it as a very positive thing," says Chris Eatough of Bike Arlington, a county program. "There's been no major opposition that I'm aware of to Capital Bikeshare."
Where there's a vacuum, there's a provocateur. Jeffrey Miller, a longtime Arlington resident and a leader in the Arlington County Republican Party, this week blasted the program. He'd discovered that a binge of bike-station building in Rosslyn had reduced the number of on-street parking spaces by eight, something he viewed as an affront to small businesses and motorists.
On the county GOP's blog, Miller took aim: "The loss of on-street parking in Rosslyn means additional inconvenience for visitors to stores and attractions. It also hurts Rosslyn shops and restaurants, who depend on available parking to attract customers." He also accused the county board of following "policies to frustrate motorists." Bolded text in original---no fontine emphasis added!
The regional media has undertaken a veritable SEO showdown on this CaBi flare-up. Never one to pass up a bike-bashing opportunity, the Washington Examiner picked it up, as did the Sun Gazette, plus us and others. Miller seems pleased with the sudden focus on the optics of the bike-sharing program. He's a fifty-something guy who loves to laugh and has lived in Arlington for about 20 years. He formerly worked for the federal Department of Transportation in automotive safety and now does part-time consulting that area. And he loves his bedrock Republican principles, which place him in kind of a polite death match with CaBi.
Around the time CaBi hit the streets, Miller called it "extravagant" and "over-hyped" and came up with a calculation that Arlington was spending $7,500 per bicycle. The question: Why the public outlay?
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